Don’t be Coinbase. Do not crash your site.

I immediately hated the Coinbase Super Bowl ad. The last thing I want is for more people to be tricked into subscribing to a bitcoin pyramid scheme. I also thought, seeing that colorful QR code bouncing around the screen like a 1990s screensaver, that it was going to explode in the company’s face.

I was right.

Surojit Chatterjee, chief product officer of Coinbase, said Coinbase had over 20 million visits to its landing page in one minute. The company’s app also saw unprecedented traffic. Chatterjee added, “We’re ready for you.”

No, they weren’t. The site and app crashed for about an hour. This is not a good look for any business.

Some people claimed that the ad got so much traffic because it was new and appealing. No, it wasn’t. There was so much traffic because the QR code promised people $15 in Bitcoin if they signed up for a Coinbase account before February 15.

People love anything that’s free; of cours, they crashed the site. I could have predicted this the same way I can predict that if you drop a heavy stone on your foot, you’re going to say “Ouch” a second later. There is nothing special.

Coinbase should have realized this too. And your business should too. Every time you offer something for free or an offer that sounds too good to be true, your online presence is going to get hammered.

So, you better make sure your websites and services are ready for it. Here are some simple steps to keep your business running.

First, before the expected traffic spike, make sure your website software and hardware are up to snuff. You want your sites served and your services featured by the best and latest programs.

Your software should also be tuned to deliver the fastest possible performance. Bad JavaScript code, unoptimized images, too many HTTP requests – all of this and more can slow down a website just when you need it to be as fast as possible.

If your sites and services are hosted by another company, make sure they don’t impose data limits that limit incoming and outgoing data to protect their servers. Some web hosting companies do this with the details hidden in the fine print. If you’re cloud-based, make sure you’ve provisioned enough resources to handle a flood of traffic.

While you’re at it, find out if your host or cloud provider has had any issues. Just when you launch a big ad campaign is not the time to find out they have their own issues.

Let’s say you’ve done all of these things and you’re still getting too much traffic. A savvy CIO will have already signed an agreement with a Content Delivery Network (CDN).

The main job of a CDN is to reduce latency by shortening the distance between a website visitor and its server. It functions as a web-level cache. But, nowadays, it can also serve as the last defender against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. This latter role can keep you in business when it’s not attackers but customers trying to come through your virtual doors.

There are many CDNs, but my favorite is Cloudflare. It’s incredibly easy to use; you just updated your DNS nameservers to use Cloudflare and it works automatically. I have used it for years and its service has never failed me. I can also recommend other CDNs such as Akamai, Fastly, and StackPath.

The goal of all of these steps is to ensure that when customers show up, you can deliver what you promised. Fast delivery of a website or service is more important than you think.

Akamai has found that the best website load time should be 2 seconds or less. For every second beyond that, you lose a huge percentage of your potential audience. Coinbase can say it got 4 million hits, but since the site wasn’t responding well, I doubt it actually hit that number of actual hits.

Granted, Coinbase has also received a tremendous amount of social media news and buzz from its advertising, but tell me: do you think people will trust a company that makes real money, not fun money in cryptocurrency, managing their bitcoin? I doubt.

The smart thing for your business to do is to make sure your online presence is up to the challenges it will face. It probably won’t make the headlines, but it will do a whole lot more to make your company’s final endeavors successful.

Then read this:

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.

About Dora Kohler

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